GW or Fordham

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SDPalmTree
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GW or Fordham

Postby SDPalmTree » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:46 pm

[Somewhat long discourse to follow, addressed to GW mostly out of convenience. I would appreciate any suggestions/thoughts from older/wiser law students out there.]

Dear GW,

Thank you for that nicely worded email this morning telling me about your mentorship program. It makes the mounting pressure about whether to accept your offer or go to Fordham all the more difficult to shoulder. I know you want me to say yes right away, but I need to take time to decide because, frankly, I've been going back and forth between the two of you seemingly every hour and am in no state of mind to be making life-altering decisions. I really wish you could make this easier for me, but I don't know how you would to that aside from offering me more money, which I can already guess you won't be doing.

All around you've been more personable and approachable than Fordham, which makes me suspect that I may be letting my personal opinion influence what should essentially be a business decision. Then again, having friendly and personable people as staff and faculty would certainly help me enjoy law school more. Of course, Fordham hasn't really had a chance to be personable with me since all of our interactions so far have been via email or phone, as opposed to my face-to-face conversations with GW reps.

Location is somewhat of an issue. No matter what you claim about placing students in diverse locations, I know that I'm most likely going to end up living and working around D.C. for the next decade or two should I choose your school. Compared to Fordham and NYC, that situation makes me think twice about going to school there. I know D.C. is a cosmopolitan city with plenty for it to boast about culturally, but after having been to both D.C. and NYC - there really is no way to place D.C. on an equal footing, NYC is just on a different level.

Further, I wonder about the type of work that is available following graduation. Will I be shoehorned into a government job if I go to GW, or a business/financial occupation if I attend Fordham? Again, I know I can go 'anywhere' I want with my occupation, but really, what's more likely? I honestly don't think I could work for the government and be satisfied with my career.

Then again, trying to predict the future through such banal means as the considerations above is always going to be an effort in futility - I should look at what I can say with certainty, right? Both of you are offering me 10k/yr to attend, but it'll be cheaper to attend school at GW if only due to the different cost of living in D.C. compared with NYC. I have to say, that's a pretty big mark in your favor - especially when may turn out to be the difference between 150k in debt versus 90k in debt. Neither option is very appealing, but when left in those terms it seems like GW is the obvious choice.

I guess if I try to sum-up my thoughts: Fordham offers me a better chance to get into Big Law, a better place to live, a personality that leaves me leery, and a much higher bill. GW gives me what appears to be very personalized attention, a good shot at BL jobs in D.C. (not so good elsewhere), a lower cost of living, and, frankly, a city that I'd rather not live in long-term.

How can I choose GW, when everything I know about your two cities is telling me to go to Fordham? How can I not choose GW, when everything I know about your two schools is telling me you have the edge?

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dingbat
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby dingbat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:59 pm

Twchos are equivalent. While the cost of living is lower in DC, it's not that much lower that it should seriously factor into your decision.
Basically, what city do you want to end up in?
If you would rather be in NY than DC, go to Fordham.
(as you've said, schollys are the same, so the costs are not that different, especially in terms of % of COA)

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SDPalmTree
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby SDPalmTree » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:10 pm

dingbat wrote:While the cost of living is lower in DC, it's not that much lower that it should seriously factor into your decision.


Really? From what I've been looking at it seems like NYC will be 20-30% more expensive than DC, especially in terms of rent, food, and utilities. I don't suppose you could send me a website or other reference for this? Hard numbers would definitely help at this point.

Also, thanks for the advice!

tennisking88
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:11 pm

dingbat wrote:Twchos are equivalent. While the cost of living is lower in DC, it's not that much lower that it should seriously factor into your decision.
Basically, what city do you want to end up in?
If you would rather be in NY than DC, go to Fordham.
(as you've said, schollys are the same, so the costs are not that different, especially in terms of % of COA)


+1. The difference in COL in both cities is pretty much negligible. I live in DC now, and the rent, especially in the GW/Foggy Bottom area, is comporable to Manhattan. The cost of food is actually MORE expensive in DC, I've found. I also don't understand where you get the 150k vs 90k figure.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:12 pm

SDPalmTree wrote:
dingbat wrote:While the cost of living is lower in DC, it's not that much lower that it should seriously factor into your decision.


Really? From what I've been looking at it seems like NYC will be 20-30% more expensive than DC, especially in terms of rent, food, and utilities.



What have you been looking at?

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:15 pm

SDPalmTree wrote:[Somewhat long discourse to follow, addressed to GW mostly out of convenience. I would appreciate any suggestions/thoughts from older/wiser law students out there.]

Dear GW,

Thank you for that nicely worded email this morning telling me about your mentorship program. It makes the mounting pressure about whether to accept your offer or go to Fordham all the more difficult to shoulder. I know you want me to say yes right away, but I need to take time to decide because, frankly, I've been going back and forth between the two of you seemingly every hour and am in no state of mind to be making life-altering decisions. I really wish you could make this easier for me, but I don't know how you would to that aside from offering me more money, which I can already guess you won't be doing.

All around you've been more personable and approachable than Fordham, which makes me suspect that I may be letting my personal opinion influence what should essentially be a business decision. Then again, having friendly and personable people as staff and faculty would certainly help me enjoy law school more. Of course, Fordham hasn't really had a chance to be personable with me since all of our interactions so far have been via email or phone, as opposed to my face-to-face conversations with GW reps.

Location is somewhat of an issue. No matter what you claim about placing students in diverse locations, I know that I'm most likely going to end up living and working around D.C. for the next decade or two should I choose your school. Compared to Fordham and NYC, that situation makes me think twice about going to school there. I know D.C. is a cosmopolitan city with plenty for it to boast about culturally, but after having been to both D.C. and NYC - there really is no way to place D.C. on an equal footing, NYC is just on a different level.

Further, I wonder about the type of work that is available following graduation. Will I be shoehorned into a government job if I go to GW, or a business/financial occupation if I attend Fordham? Again, I know I can go 'anywhere' I want with my occupation, but really, what's more likely? I honestly don't think I could work for the government and be satisfied with my career.

Then again, trying to predict the future through such banal means as the considerations above is always going to be an effort in futility - I should look at what I can say with certainty, right? Both of you are offering me 10k/yr to attend, but it'll be cheaper to attend school at GW if only due to the different cost of living in D.C. compared with NYC. I have to say, that's a pretty big mark in your favor - especially when may turn out to be the difference between 150k in debt versus 90k in debt. Neither option is very appealing, but when left in those terms it seems like GW is the obvious choice.

I guess if I try to sum-up my thoughts: Fordham offers me a better chance to get into Big Law, a better place to live, a personality that leaves me leery, and a much higher bill. GW gives me what appears to be very personalized attention, a good shot at BL jobs in D.C. (not so good elsewhere), a lower cost of living, and, frankly, a city that I'd rather not live in long-term.

How can I choose GW, when everything I know about your two cities is telling me to go to Fordham? How can I not choose GW, when everything I know about your two schools is telling me you have the edge?


GW's class size is about 500 people. This will not get you "very personalized attention" much more than Fordham. Bottom line is, if you dont' wanna be in DC, and would rather be in NY, don't go to GW!

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:20 pm

SDPalmTree wrote:
dingbat wrote:While the cost of living is lower in DC, it's not that much lower that it should seriously factor into your decision.


Really? From what I've been looking at it seems like NYC will be 20-30% more expensive than DC, especially in terms of rent, food, and utilities. I don't suppose you could send me a website or other reference for this? Hard numbers would definitely help at this point.

Also, thanks for the advice!


http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/i ... _area/2591

"Earlier this month, Delta Associates released its third quarter report in which it noted that rents in the DC area have soared 7.3 percent for Class A and B apartments over the past twelve months. Specifically, the average rent in the DC area is now $1,643 a month, up from $1,507 a month in Septemeber 2009. By the 35 percent gross income rule, DC area residents would have to make at least $56,300 a year to comfortably pay the current monthly rent. "

Think about it. Even if the avg price in Manhattan for a studio is 2100 vs. 1600 for DC, that's a $500 per month difference. That's $6,000 per year, or $18,000 difference over 3 years. Is that, in the long run, really enough $ to choose a school that does well primarily in a city in which you don't want to work? Something to think about.
Last edited by tennisking88 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

GokartMozart315
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby GokartMozart315 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:25 pm

go to fordham. that way, i can get off the gw waitlist in your spot, and somebody else can have my fordham spot. i can work in dc, which is 10,000 times better than ny (i've lived in both, have you tried living in nyc for more than a weekend...?) and you can work in ny, where you would rather be. deal!

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SDPalmTree
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby SDPalmTree » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:27 pm

tennisking88 wrote:What have you been looking at?


A number of different places, including articles like this one: http://www.newgeography.com/content/002019-regional-exchange-rates-the-cost-living-us-metropolitan-areas
and the BLS stats for each location (apples to oranges, I know, but I use it more for inference than specifics):
NY: http://www.bls.gov/ro2/cpinynj.htm
DC: http://www.bls.gov/ro3/cpiwb.htm

And a few other places besides, but I'm at work so I don't have my bookmarks.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:29 pm

SDPalmTree wrote:
tennisking88 wrote:What have you been looking at?


A number of different places, including articles like this one: http://www.newgeography.com/content/002019-regional-exchange-rates-the-cost-living-us-metropolitan-areas
and the BLS stats for each location (apples to oranges, I know, but I use it more for inference than specifics):
NY: http://www.bls.gov/ro2/cpinynj.htm
DC: http://www.bls.gov/ro3/cpiwb.htm

And a few other places besides, but I'm at work so I don't have my bookmarks.


Why are you comparing entire regions?? You're choosing between living exepnses in two of the most expensive cities within those regions! I hardly see why this data is pertinent.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby SDPalmTree » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:33 pm

tennisking88 wrote:
SDPalmTree wrote:
tennisking88 wrote:What have you been looking at?


A number of different places, including articles like this one: http://www.newgeography.com/content/002019-regional-exchange-rates-the-cost-living-us-metropolitan-areas
and the BLS stats for each location (apples to oranges, I know, but I use it more for inference than specifics):
NY: http://www.bls.gov/ro2/cpinynj.htm
DC: http://www.bls.gov/ro3/cpiwb.htm

And a few other places besides, but I'm at work so I don't have my bookmarks.


Why are you comparing entire regions?? You're choosing between living exepnses in two of the most expensive cities within those regions! I hardly see why this data is pertinent.


Towards the bottom of the article it specifies the purchasing power by city, and the bls stats are fairly well targeted, especially since I don't specifically know where I'll be living in either location. Also, as I said, I have other data sources that I can't get to right now that paint a fairly similar picture: both are expensive, but NYC is more expensive.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:41 pm

SDPalmTree wrote: both are expensive, but NYC is more expensive.


Agreed. But not by any significant amount (you say there's a $60,000 difference. I'd like to see the numbers on that) to sway your decision. Go where you wanna work. Easy as that.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby SDPalmTree » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:46 pm

tennisking88 wrote:
SDPalmTree wrote: both are expensive, but NYC is more expensive.


Agreed. But not by any significant amount (you say there's a $60,000 difference. I'd like to see the numbers on that) to sway your decision. Go where you wanna work. Easy as that.


Ah, of course, I didn't mention that my fiancee will be supporting me financially during law school - rent, food, whatnot. At GW I anticipate being able to turn my scholarship money towards tuition, whereas at Fordham I expect to use it to help with expenses. This is how I'm calculating the difference.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:50 pm

GW estimated cost of attendance (2012-2013): $77,300

Tuition: $47,535
Room and Board: $18,900

http://www.law.gwu.edu/Admissions/finan ... fault.aspx

Fordham estimated cost of attendance (2011-2012): $73,573

Tuition&Fees: $47,986
Room and Board: $18,408

http://law.fordham.edu/financial-aid/1890.htm

Tuition may rise this year, but the difference is negligible.

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SDPalmTree
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby SDPalmTree » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:55 pm

tennisking88 wrote:GW estimated cost of attendance (2012-2013): $77,300

Tuition: $47,535
Room and Board: $18,900

http://www.law.gwu.edu/Admissions/finan ... fault.aspx

Fordham estimated cost of attendance (2011-2012): $73,573

Tuition&Fees: $47,986
Room and Board: $18,408

http://law.fordham.edu/financial-aid/1890.htm

Tuition may rise this year, but the difference is negligible.


Honestly, the only numbers I trust from law schools are the actual cost of tuition - and even then I have to check to see if they included the various 'fees' their college has. Fordham alone is simply lying - assuming you rented a dorm room from them, then the cost for 2 semesters is already $15,655, not including food. Maybe you could get the cost to ~18k per year at each location, but I have to think that it'll be a hell of a lot easier to do so in DC than in NYC.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:56 pm

SDPalmTree wrote:Ah, of course, I didn't mention that my fiancee will be supporting me financially during law school - rent, food, whatnot. At GW I anticipate being able to turn my scholarship money towards tuition, whereas at Fordham I expect to use it to help with expenses. This is how I'm calculating the difference.


What? How can you use your scholarship for non-tuition expenses?

Also, and again: DC is quite expensive. The food here is expensive. When I go to Manhattan, the food at supermarkets or whatever, is not more expensive. The rent is maybe a little cheaper, depending on where you live. If you wanna live anywhere near GW, it's comporable with Manhattan.

Edit: didn't read that correctly. You may not even live in NY. So I'm assuming your fiance will relocate to wherever you will go?

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SDPalmTree
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby SDPalmTree » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:08 pm

tennisking88 wrote:What? How can you use your scholarship for non-tuition expenses?

I also don't understand. If your fiancee has a job in NY, why are you even considering moving to a new city? Are you not happy in NY?

Also, and again: DC is quite expensive. The food here is expensive. When I go to Manhattan, the food at supermarkets or whatever, is not more expensive. The rent is maybe a little cheaper, depending on where you live. If you wanna live anywhere near GW, it's comporable with Manhattan.


Scholarships are fungable with the loans I take out - which can be used for living expenses, I and my fiancee are currently located in LA, and your point about the cost of living is duly noted.

I'm actually curious about your experience with living in NYC vs. DC. Have you lived in both locations?

Also, I was expecting to have at least some sort of commute in NYC if I wanted to live within my means. I thought that with DC the commute would probably be shorter to achieve the same result. Has this been true in your experience?

Thanks again for taking the time to help with me on this.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby rad lulz » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:27 pm

Total debt at both? Where do you want to work?

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby Yossarian79 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:28 pm

Different strokes for different folks, obviously, but I've lived in DC continuously for five years (and non-consecutively for about 7), compared to a couple of years in Brooklyn. And NYC wins on every metric you'd care to name except for living expenses (slightly), and...well, I can't really think of another one.

It cannot be overstated the degree to which DC is a company town, with the "company" being the federal government and national politics. If you're outside of that, I can't imagine what fulfillment you'd really get from living here. I'm inside of it, and it started to drive me crazy a long time ago. It's culturally inferior, there's less to do, and the whole place just has less overall dynamism. You can't even find a good neighborhood corner bar without some serious effort because anyone who tries to open a small business in this town has to deal with some fucking Neighborhood Commission complaining about the noise and/or the "kind" of people it will bring into the community.

Again, everyone is different with different priorities -- but I'm gearing up for law school applications in the fall, and New York, Chicago, LA, and the Bay Area--among others--are on my list. Very intentionally, DC is not.

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dingbat
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby dingbat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:41 pm

SDPalmTree wrote:
tennisking88 wrote:What? How can you use your scholarship for non-tuition expenses?

I also don't understand. If your fiancee has a job in NY, why are you even considering moving to a new city? Are you not happy in NY?

Also, and again: DC is quite expensive. The food here is expensive. When I go to Manhattan, the food at supermarkets or whatever, is not more expensive. The rent is maybe a little cheaper, depending on where you live. If you wanna live anywhere near GW, it's comporable with Manhattan.


Scholarships are fungable with the loans I take out - which can be used for living expenses, I and my fiancee are currently located in LA, and your point about the cost of living is duly noted.

I'm actually curious about your experience with living in NYC vs. DC. Have you lived in both locations?

Also, I was expecting to have at least some sort of commute in NYC if I wanted to live within my means. I thought that with DC the commute would probably be shorter to achieve the same result. Has this been true in your experience?

Thanks again for taking the time to help with me on this.

In NY you can live cheaply in Hells Kitchen (5-20 minute walk to Fordham) or a bit cheaper up in Harlem (25-45 minutes to Fordham).
If you're scared of Harlem, Dykman is also a possibility (180th street, or so).
Your commute will still be under an hour

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby tennisking88 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:42 pm

Yossarian79 wrote:Different strokes for different folks, obviously, but I've lived in DC continuously for five years (and non-consecutively for about 7), compared to a couple of years in Brooklyn. And NYC wins on every metric you'd care to name except for living expenses (slightly), and...well, I can't really think of another one.

It cannot be overstated the degree to which DC is a company town, with the "company" being the federal government and national politics. If you're outside of that, I can't imagine what fulfillment you'd really get from living here. I'm inside of it, and it started to drive me crazy a long time ago. It's culturally inferior, there's less to do, and the whole place just has less overall dynamism. You can't even find a good neighborhood corner bar without some serious effort because anyone who tries to open a small business in this town has to deal with some fucking Neighborhood Commission complaining about the noise and/or the "kind" of people it will bring into the community.

Again, everyone is different with different priorities -- but I'm gearing up for law school applications in the fall, and New York, Chicago, LA, and the Bay Area--among others--are on my list. Very intentionally, DC is not.


I have a more positive view of DC. I think parts are quite beautiful (and much more quiet than NY). It's small, and you can go to a lot of places, from MD to VA in less than an hour. It's true that everything is government-centered, but you can certainly find BigLaw work centered around gov't contracts, or even other stuff. I don't even think it's culturally inferior, just depends on what kind of town you want. There's less to do, I suppose, than NY, but that's pretty much every city other than NY. There are plenty of things to do. It's not Des Moines.

I just think if you're set on NY, you can't go to GW. If you're flexible, you can. I think the best thing to do in your case would be to visit both or just DC. If you can't, then I'd go with your gut and choose Fordham. Substantively there's little difference b/w the two schools. And the difference in living expenses (yes, including rent) will be negligible, especially if you're splitting everything with your fiancee. As to commuting, yes, you can live in VA or MD and commute. Don't know how much money you'd save, but the one thing DC/surrounding area has on NY is that, while rent prices are similar, you get more space in DC for your apt.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby HeavenWood » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:53 pm

Yossarian79 wrote:Different strokes for different folks, obviously, but I've lived in DC continuously for five years (and non-consecutively for about 7), compared to a couple of years in Brooklyn. And NYC wins on every metric you'd care to name except for living expenses (slightly), and...well, I can't really think of another one.

It cannot be overstated the degree to which DC is a company town, with the "company" being the federal government and national politics. If you're outside of that, I can't imagine what fulfillment you'd really get from living here. I'm inside of it, and it started to drive me crazy a long time ago. It's culturally inferior, there's less to do, and the whole place just has less overall dynamism. You can't even find a good neighborhood corner bar without some serious effort because anyone who tries to open a small business in this town has to deal with some fucking Neighborhood Commission complaining about the noise and/or the "kind" of people it will bring into the community.

Again, everyone is different with different priorities -- but I'm gearing up for law school applications in the fall, and New York, Chicago, LA, and the Bay Area--among others--are on my list. Very intentionally, DC is not.

That's funny cause I love DC and hate New York.

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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby danitt » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:24 pm

HeavenWood wrote:
Yossarian79 wrote:Different strokes for different folks, obviously, but I've lived in DC continuously for five years (and non-consecutively for about 7), compared to a couple of years in Brooklyn. And NYC wins on every metric you'd care to name except for living expenses (slightly), and...well, I can't really think of another one.

It cannot be overstated the degree to which DC is a company town, with the "company" being the federal government and national politics. If you're outside of that, I can't imagine what fulfillment you'd really get from living here. I'm inside of it, and it started to drive me crazy a long time ago. It's culturally inferior, there's less to do, and the whole place just has less overall dynamism. You can't even find a good neighborhood corner bar without some serious effort because anyone who tries to open a small business in this town has to deal with some fucking Neighborhood Commission complaining about the noise and/or the "kind" of people it will bring into the community.

Again, everyone is different with different priorities -- but I'm gearing up for law school applications in the fall, and New York, Chicago, LA, and the Bay Area--among others--are on my list. Very intentionally, DC is not.

That's funny cause I love DC and hate New York.

Same tbh. NYC always makes me feel anxious.

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SDPalmTree
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby SDPalmTree » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:32 pm

Thank you all for your input, it's definitely given me a lot to think about and I really appreciate hearing the different opinions on DC vs. NY. If the schools, COL, et cetera are really as similar as you are all making them out to be, then I think I'll end up choosing Fordham between the two of them, because ultimately I would prefer living and working in NY than in DC.

Thanks again!

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dingbat
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Re: GW or Fordham

Postby dingbat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:51 pm

danitt wrote:
HeavenWood wrote:
Yossarian79 wrote:Different strokes for different folks, obviously, but I've lived in DC continuously for five years (and non-consecutively for about 7), compared to a couple of years in Brooklyn. And NYC wins on every metric you'd care to name except for living expenses (slightly), and...well, I can't really think of another one.

It cannot be overstated the degree to which DC is a company town, with the "company" being the federal government and national politics. If you're outside of that, I can't imagine what fulfillment you'd really get from living here. I'm inside of it, and it started to drive me crazy a long time ago. It's culturally inferior, there's less to do, and the whole place just has less overall dynamism. You can't even find a good neighborhood corner bar without some serious effort because anyone who tries to open a small business in this town has to deal with some fucking Neighborhood Commission complaining about the noise and/or the "kind" of people it will bring into the community.

Again, everyone is different with different priorities -- but I'm gearing up for law school applications in the fall, and New York, Chicago, LA, and the Bay Area--among others--are on my list. Very intentionally, DC is not.

That's funny cause I love DC and hate New York.

Same tbh. NYC always makes me feel anxious.

New York is less a location and more a way of life.
It most certainly is not for everyone.




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